Health News Review

On the Embargo Watch blog, Ivan Oransky writes:

eLife, the new open-access journal funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust, announced its media policy earlier this week.  … I love this policy.

From the policy’s preamble:

First, we are encouraging authors whose work has been accepted for publication to discuss their work with colleagues as much as they wish.  If writers or journalists hear about the work and wish to write about it, we encourage authors to discuss their work with the writer(s) concerned, and we suggest that authors make the accepted manuscript available at a suitable repository or their own website.  eLife is therefore not applying the Ingelfinger rule, which strongly discourages interaction with the media ahead of formal publication.  Second, given our policy to allow open discussion with the media and others ahead of publication, we will not issue embargoed press releases.  Instead, eLife will promote articles at the point of publication.”

He ends with what he says is “another advantage of eLife’s policy:

“Bloggers who aren’t part of mainstream media outlets won’t have to jump through hoops to get embargoed copies of papers. Many of those bloggers are doing an outstanding job of writing about science with skepticism and tough questions, and some of them have dedicated audiences who might care about studies in eLife that no one in the mainstream media will cover.

In other words: Journalists — particularly those who allow themselves to be slaves to embargoes — don’t have to be the middlemen anymore. Excellent. Let’s all let quality — not access and all of its potential for too-cozy-for-comfort relationships — win.”


Stevan Harnad posted on November 1, 2012 at 12:37 am


Elife is a Gold (pay to publish) OA journal, which is fine, but most journals are subscription journals. Sixty percent of subscription journals, however, are Green, meaning that they endorse immediate, unembargoed self-archiving of the final refereed drafts in their authors’ institutional OA repositories (Green OA). Hence they too renounce the Ingelfinger Rule, and not just for unrefereed preprints but for refereed post prints.

Harnad, S. (2000) Ingelfinger Over-Ruled: The Role of the Web in the Future of Refereed Medical Journal Publishing. Lancet Perspectives 256 (December Supplement): s16.

Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock, S., Gingras, Y, Oppenheim, C., Stamerjohanns, H., & Hilf, E. (2004) The Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open Access. Nature Web Focus.

Harnad, S (2012) The Optimal and Inevitable outcome for Research in the Online Age. CILIP Update September 2012